Bocchi the Rock! Theatrical Compilation: Yoshino Aoyama Interview


The first part of “Theatrical Compilation Bocchi the Rock! Re:” is currently a big hit nationwide! The TV anime “Bocchi the Rock!” (created by Aki Hamaji and serialized in Houbunsha’s “Manga Time Kirara MAX”), which aired in 2022 and became very popular, has been re-edited into a two-part compilation film covering all 12 episodes. The story follows Hitori Gotoh, an extremely shy and introverted girl, who ends up joining the band “Kessoku Band” as the guitarist. The series depicts her growth alongside three other unique members: Nijika Ijichi, Ryo Yamada, and Ikuyo Kita. This time, we spoke with Yoshino Aoyama, who plays the role of Hitori Gotoh, about her feelings ahead of the theatrical release.

Interviewer: How did you feel when you first heard that a theatrical compilation had been decided? Aoyama: It felt like a dream because the news that “we’re doing a theatrical compilation” was conveyed so casually. But recently, when I went to TOHO Cinemas Shinjuku and saw the rooftop Godzilla and the Approval Monster drawn on the wall, I finally realized, “We’re really doing this in theaters.”

Interviewer: Have you seen the completed footage? Aoyama: Not yet. However, I was told by Ikumi Hasegawa, who plays Kita-chan, about whose line starts the theatrical compilation, and it was such a surprising person. I was like, “We’re starting from there!?” That first line alone should show that it’s not just a straightforward compilation of episodes 1 through 12, so I hope everyone looks forward to it.

Interviewer: Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to in the theatrical compilation? Aoyama: I’m very interested in how screenwriter Erika Yoshida, who brilliantly condensed the original 4-panel manga into 12 episodes, re-edited it into a two-part film. I’m curious about what parts were cut or added to tightly condense the funny words and situations that pop up, and how the balance was managed in the editing process.

Interviewer: Can you tell us about the unique appeal of the theatrical compilation that can be enjoyed on the big screen and with superb sound?

Aoyama: I think everyone is expecting it, but the live scenes of Kessoku Band are going to be truly overwhelming. Whether you just take in the sound or admire the beauty of the visuals, either way is fine. Probably, just watching it once in the theater will leave you with a sense of “Wow!” So, I hope you watch it a second and third time in a more relaxed state afterward. Also, since the work is filled with detailed jokes in the background and props, I hope you enjoy those meticulous details as well on the big screen.

Interviewer: Not only fans of the TV series but also people who became interested in the anime after hearing Kessoku Band’s songs might come to the theater.

Aoyama: That’s right. There are quite a few people who haven’t seen the “Bocchi the Rock!” anime but have heard Kessoku Band’s songs. For those people, I hope they get to know the work “Bocchi the Rock!” along with the songs they’ve been listening to. Knowing that the lyrics were written by Hitori Gotoh and the compositions were done by Ryo Yamada can add a deeper understanding to the songs. People might think, “Did Bocchi-chan write these lyrics?” or “Ryo only thinks about herself, composing all these amazing bass-heavy songs.” Since the songs and the story are closely linked, I hope those who know only the songs also get to experience the work itself.

Interviewer: What impression do you have of Hitori Gotoh, the heroine you play?

Aoyama: Hitori Gotoh is often introduced as a “shy and socially awkward girl,” but after playing all 12 episodes of the TV series, I see her as a girl who doesn’t give up. Whether it’s conversations with others, part-time jobs, or going to Enoshima, she starts off reluctant or resistant, but in the end, she always sees things through, even if she is pushed along by the flow. She ends up thinking, “That was fun.” Of course, the warm efforts of the people around her play a big role, but I think it’s amazing how she takes in their support and turns it into a positive energy to keep trying.

Interviewer: Do you have any memorable moments from the voice recording for the TV series?

Aoyama: I’ll never forget the recording of the first episode. Even though it was mostly me speaking as Hitori Gotoh, the recording took much longer than expected. After it ended, I was reflecting, wondering if everyone regretted casting me as Hitori. Then, the producer started a standing ovation from behind. It’s something that doesn’t even happen for the final episode. Other staff members also greeted me with applause as I left the booth. The original creator, Aki Hamaji, who was observing the recording, also said, “I’m glad we entrusted Hitori Gotoh to Aoyama-san,” which made me cry a lot. I still remember it vividly.

Interviewer: Does that mean Hitori Gotoh was a difficult character to portray?

Aoyama: This is true for any work, but the first episode always takes time to solidify the character. Hitori Gotoh, in particular, was challenging because her inner self and the way she is perceived by others are completely different. Even if she thinks she’s saying “Good morning” brightly and cheerfully, if it sounds bright to the listener, it’s no good. So, during recording, the sound director often told me, “It sounds too bright; that’s not right.”

Interviewer: That sounds like a very challenging requirement.

Aoyama: Yes, even for a simple line like “Ah, yes” in a conversation with Nijika, I was told to “throw it all to the floor” and “don’t talk to Nijika.” Hitori thinks she’s talking to Nijika, but it must not sound like that to Nijika. However, for the monologue line “What should I do? I couldn’t talk at all,” I had to convey the emotion directly. Switching the internal emotional switches was very difficult. Yet, as the episodes progress, Hitori eventually can look Nijika in the eye and say “Yes,” which makes me feel emotional about her growth.

Interviewer: What kind of presence has Hitori Gotoh become for you?

Aoyama: I think she has become a character that could be described as my living double. When portraying her, I didn’t have to force myself to tap into any particular acting techniques; her feelings naturally resonated with me. That’s why I think I was able to deeply connect with the realism depicted in the work. The self-deprecating nature of Hitori Gotoh will probably never disappear, and I hope to stay connected with her forever.

Interviewer: What do you think makes “Bocchi the Rock!” so captivating to many fans?

Aoyama: The work is filled with various attractions, but I believe the most noteworthy aspect is the unique characters and the acting performances that bring them to life. For example, both Nijika and Kita are bright and energetic characters, but Nijika has a maternal instinct, always considering everyone’s well-being, whereas Kita is surprisingly free-spirited. Despite seeming similar in energy, their individuality is distinctly portrayed through the performances of Sayumi Suzushiro and Ikumi Hasegawa. Watching them differentiate their roles so clearly in their acting was truly impressive. Ryo, although cool, possesses a fiery spirit more intense than any other member, making her a very challenging character. Yet, Saku Mizuno’s ability to masterfully handle this complex role showcases her incredible talent. The casting for Kessoku Band really struck a perfect balance.

Interviewer: Kessoku Band is also set to perform at the outdoor music festival “ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL 2024.”

Aoyama: And it’s on the same day as ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION. “Rockin’, you’re really doing it!” (laughs). It still feels somewhat surreal, so there’s a bit of nervousness, but I hope to deliver music to everyone at the venue as Kessoku Band.

Interviewer: Finally, do you have a message for those eagerly awaiting the release?

Aoyama: Thanks to the fans’ support, “Bocchi the Rock!” has become a much bigger content than I ever anticipated. I would be delighted if you could love the theatrical compilation with the same passion and affection as the TV series.

Yoshino Aoyama
Born on May 15. Affiliated with 81 Produce. Major roles include “Pokémon” (Dot/Gurumin), “Study Group” (Rumi Meguro), “Love Tyrant” (Guri), “Natsunagu!” (Izumi Chiba), and “Wake Up, Girls!” (Yoshino Nanase), among others.

Theatrical Compilation Bocchi the Rock!

Part 1 = “Theatrical Compilation Bocchi the Rock! Re:” Now in theaters!
Part 2 = “Theatrical Compilation Bocchi the Rock! Re:Re:” To be released in theaters on Friday, August 9.

“Bocchi the Rock!” is a popular four-panel manga by Aki Hamaji, serialized in Houbunsha’s “Manga Time Kirara MAX.”

The story follows Hitori Gotoh, an extremely shy and introverted girl, who joins a band called “Kessoku Band” and grows alongside its three unique members: Nijika Ijichi, Ryo Yamada, and Ikuyo Kita. The series has resonated with many.

When the TV anime aired in the fall of 2022, it quickly became popular, especially among young people, and won numerous awards, gaining immense support both domestically and internationally.

In the music sphere, Kessoku Band’s full album “Kessoku Band” created a major sensation, securing the number one spot in the 2023 Oricon “Work Sales Department Digital Album Ranking” and the number one spot in the Billboard JAPAN “Annual Download Album Chart.”

The story of Kessoku Band, which made a striking debut in both anime and music, will be brought to theaters in 2024 as a re-edited TV anime with stunning visuals and sound in the theatrical compilation!

If you’re an introvert, rock out!

Hitori Gotoh, known as “Bocchi-chan,” is an extremely shy and introverted girl who always starts conversations with “Ah.”

Hoping to shine through band activities, she starts playing the guitar but ends up spending her middle school days playing the guitar alone for six hours a day because she has no friends.

She fantasizes about posting her improved guitar performances online as “Guitar Hero” and playing at school festival concerts, but before she knows it, she becomes a high school student without having made a single friend or found any band members.

On the verge of becoming a recluse, one day she is approached by Nijika Ijichi, the drummer of “Kessoku Band,” and her daily life begins to change little by little.

Original Work: Aki Hamaji (serialized in Houbunsha’s “Manga Time Kirara MAX”)
Director: Keiichiro Saito
Series Composition & Screenplay: Erika Yoshida
Character Design & Chief Animation Director: Kerorira
Assistant Director: Yusuke Yamamoto
Live Director: Yusuke Kawakami
Live Animator: Yuki Ito
Prop Design: Ayumi Nagaki
2D Works: Aoi Umeki
Color Design: Asuka Yokota
Art Director: Yasuhisa Moriyasu
Art Setting: taracod
Director of Photography: Tsubasa Kanamori
CG Director: Katsuaki Miyaji
Live CG Director: Hiroaki Uchida
Editor: Daisuke Hiraki
Music: Tomoki Kikuya
Sound Director: Akiko Fujita
Sound Effects: Shota Yaso
Production: CloverWorks
Distribution: Aniplex

Hitori Gotoh: Yoshino Aoyama
Nijika Ijichi: Sayumi Suzushiro
Ryo Yamada: Saku Mizuno
Ikuyo Kita: Ikumi Hasegawa

☆ Official website for the theatrical compilation “Bocchi the Rock!”

(C) Aki Hamaji / Houbunsha · Aniplex

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